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Canada K4C Hub (Tkaronto)


Toronto, Canada


  • University of Toronto Scarborough (Centre for Critical Development Studies)


  • Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto


  • Toronto Centre of Learning & Development


  • Ontario Council for International Cooperation



Following conversations about the importance of community expertise and to ensure that research are also driven by community needs,  K4C Tkaronto was co-founded in the summer of 2019 by the Centre for Critical Development Studies at UTSC, OISE at the U of T, community partners Toronto Centre for Community Learning & Development (CL&D), and Ontario Council for International Cooperation (OCIC).
As of March 2020, mentors from these organisations have been trained and certified by K4C Global to become resources in future community-based participatory research projects. They have also been deeply embedded in the pedagogy of the cluster of courses that form the core of the Community Knowledge Learning Hub, an experiential learning project funded by the Provost at the U of Toronto.

  1. Our collective goal is to enable transformative change by providing community-based education and research learning opportunities (online and in-person) to students, educators, academics, community development and international cooperation practitioners, and residents in our city, province, and beyond.
  2. Working with communities and partner organizations in support of their education and human development goals
  3. Creating and providing access to CBPAR training for community partners in our region and internationally – through the development of learning institutes that could take place online or in person.
  4. Share knowledge and practices with other hubs within the K4C consortium


Isabelle Kim: 
In August 2019, Isabelle initiated with Dr. Leslie Chan, the formation of the UNESCO Knowledge for Change (K4C) Toronto Hub. Isabelle has been working in the fields of international cooperation, public engagement, and community-based education, health, arts and research since 1996. She has had the pleasure of working in Canada, Peru and China with diverse communities, schools, universities, hospitals, and civil society organizations, including the Toronto Centre of Learning and Development (CL&D) and the Ontario Council for International Cooperation. Isabelle co-created and taught, with Karen Villanueva, a course on Community-Based Participatory Action Research (CBPAR), and supported four CBPAR projects led by eight inspiring immigrant women at CL&D (2019-2020). Isabelle joined Partners in Health Canada in September 2020, as a Grants Manager. Isabelle is a proud alumna of UTSC’s International Development Studies Coop Programme (2000). She holds a MA and PhD from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, where Isabelle has taught over 25 courses in research methods and cooperative learning since 2009. She looks forward to continue supporting the K4C Toronto Hub’s efforts to teach and support CBPAR projects. Isabelle currently lives in Toronto with her partner and three children.

Karen Villanueva-Paez:
Karen Villanueva-Paez is a Colombian community worker currently based in Tkaronto, Kanata (Toronto, Canada). She graduated from York University with an HBA in International Development Studies and is currently pursuing a Master in Social Work at the University of Toronto. Karen currently holds the portfolio of Supervisor of Programming at the Toronto Centre for Learning & Development. For the past 6 years, through her community development practice, Karen integrates her passion for popular education, activism and visual arts to support immigrant and newcomer populations living in underserved communities. Karen collaborates with grassroots stakeholders to create programs that serve their own communities and foster their capacity to enact social change.

Maggie Huang:  
Maggie Huang is the Coordinator for the Knowledge Equity Lab, Community-Based Participatory Research Mentor for the Knowledge for Change Tkaronto Hub, and a Member of the KnowledgeGAP research collective. She has contributed to research investigating open science policy discourse, inequities in academic infrastructures, the commodification of knowledge, and barriers to post-secondary education in Toronto and India. She also brings experience working in community development, community-based youth participatory action research, Collective Impact network coordination, and strategic fundraising and communications to advance the goals of KEL. Maggie is a graduate of the Critical Development Studies Co-op program from the University of Toronto Scarborough, where she was humbled to receive the Gordon Cressy Award and Letter Award for student leadership and significant community contributions. Maggie is passionate about collaborative ways to learn and raise critical consciousness; and contributes to movements co-emerging wisdom and collective action towards a more holistic, pluralistic, peaceful coexistence of humanity’s diverse dreams and futures.


Immigrant Women Integration Program (IWIP) Community Based Participatory Action Research Course

This is a project-based, post-secondary level course about the principles and practices of Community-Based Participatory Action Research (CBPAR) for immigrant and newcomer women living in the Greater Toronto Area to explore the potential of CBPAR for social change. For the purposes of this course CBPAR is defined as “A research approach that involves active participation of stakeholders, those whose lives are affected by the issue being studied, in all phases of research for producing useful results to make positive changes.” (Nelson, Ochocka, Griffin & Lord, 1998, p.12) https://communityresearchcanada.ca/intro-to-cbr/

In the first part of the course students develop a practical understanding of CBPAR purpose, principles and phases and a mix of more traditional and arts-based research methods through readings, reflection, and experiential learning activities. In the second part of the course students have the opportunity to design and carry out a CBPAR project on a topic of their choice either on their own or in small groups.

By the end of this course students are able to:

  • Explain the main purpose, principles and phases of CBPAR.
  • Design and lead a CBPAR project on a topic of their choice and carry out all phases of the CBPAR process, starting with identifying a research problem/question and the relevant stakeholders/actors and participants; creating a project plan; choosing appropriate community engagement, participant recruitment, and information gathering methods;
  • Use a variety of qualitative, quantitative and arts-based CBPAR methods;
  • Recruit participants and collect research data based on research ethics principles and protocols;
  • Analyze quantitative data (basic analysis using free survey applications (e.g. google forms), and analyze qualitative data using basic manual coding techniques, and
  • Create a succinct report on research findings (using PowerPoint).
  • Knowledge Equity Lab https://knowledgeequitylab.ca/

The Knowledge Equity Lab is an inclusive, trans-disciplinary space that seeks to challenge multiple forms of exclusion within the highly unequal structure of knowledge production and exchange. It aims  to be an experimental space which enables the cultivation, exploration and celebration of different ways of knowing.

Housed at the Centre for Critical Development Studies at UTSC, the lab enables collaboration and partnerships with diverse knowledge makers seeking to advance shared goals of knowledge inclusion, epistemic diversity, and the centering of marginalized and underrepresented knowledge as a means of social justice and change.

Isabelle Kim speaks about the Knowledge 4 Change Tkaronto Hub at the launch of Knowledge Equity Lab, an inclusive, trans-disciplinary space that seeks to challenge multiple forms of exclusion within the highly unequal structure of knowledge production and exchange. It aims to be an experimental space which enables the cultivation, exploration and celebration of different ways of knowing, which is housed at the Centre for Critical Development Studies at UTSC.


Community Based Participatory Action Research Summer Institute

Summer Virtual Institute on Community-Based Participatory Action Research (CBPAR) aims to support capacity-building of civil society organizations and community members in Ontario.

Over the course of four weekly 90-minute online modules participants are introduced to CBPAR principles and phases, and learn how to use CBPAR methods observation and arts-based methods through readings, resources, reflection, and experiential learning activities. Given the time limitation, this Institute will not be covering the full range of CBPAR methods.


Yannan Gu’ Biography:

Yannan Gu is an immigrant woman from China. Her educational background is in International Transportation and Customs. In 2020, she joined the Toronto Centre of Learning and Development’s (CL&D) Immigrant Women Integration Program (IWIP) where she learned about Community-Based Participatory Action Research (CBPAR). Yannan co-conducted the CBPAR project on “How COVID-19 impacted Chinese grocery workers in the Greater Toronto Area” After completion of the IWIP program, she came on board as the Community-Based Research Assistant to upcoming participants in the IWIP, as well as the Co-coordinator of the K4C Tkaronto Hub. Yannan also collaborates on an Anti-Racism Action Research Program with the Chinese Canadian National Council and is passionate about social justice and advocacy. Yannan hopes to contribute to providing a better life for the next generation through CBPAR.

Contact information: yannan.gu@tccld.org

Amelia Pitchay’s Biography:

Amelia Pitchay is the coordinator for the Knowledge Equity Lab, co-coordinator for UNESCO Knowledge for Change Tkaronto Hub, and mentor to University of Toronto Scarborough’s Open Praxis Forum. She holds a BA (Hons.) in Sociology and Art History from the University of Toronto and an MSc in Sociological Research from the University of Manchester. She has contributed to research concerning culture, religion, identity formation and preservation, and linguistics. Passionate about better access to education, Amelia volunteers her time as tutor and teaching assistant at the Toronto Centre of Learning & Development’s (TCLD) Academic Upgrading Program in Regent Park, Toronto. Most recently, Amelia graduated from the Immigrant Women Integration Program at TCLD where she created a community-based participatory action research (CBPAR) project with a team of students and community members to investigate ways to improve on bridging the gap between community and academia. Amelia is interested in knowledge equity, knowledge preservation, decolonizing and diversifying academia, CBPAR, and ways in which one can be a more responsible researcher.

Contact information: amelia.pitchay@mail.utoronto.ca

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